Entertainment

Jordan Peele Is First African American to Win Best Original Screenplay Oscar


It may not have won Best Picture, but Get Out still managed to make history at this year’s Oscars. Jordan Peele won for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the critically acclaimed and massive box office genre hit, which made for one of the most exciting moments of the entire Academy Awards ceremony. Not just because people were excited to see Get Out actually walk away with a major award, but because Peele became the first ever African American to win the award for Best Original Screenplay. It only took 90 years to make it happen.

Jordan Peele transitioned from primarily being known as a sketch comedy actor for his work on Comedy Central’s Key and Peele, to becoming an Academy Award nominated writer and director (now winner) with his first movie. Get Out isn’t just his first movie as a filmmaker, but a rare genre movie that actually managed to get some very serious love from the Academy, something that almost never happens. Peele was understandably emotional when he took the state to collect his well-deserved Oscar. Here’s what he had to say in his acceptance speech.

“This means so much to me. I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”

Taking to Twitter shortly after his win, Jordan Peele acknowledged the moment saying, “I just won an Oscar. WTF?!?” Peele had reason to be surprised and honored, as The Best Original Screenplay field was quite crowded this year. Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water) were also nominated In the category. The Shape of Water ultimately went on to win Best Picture over Get Out.

Other black writers have won in the past for Best Adapted Screenplay, including Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney last year for Moonlight and John Ridley in 2013 for 12 Years a Slave, but never for an original screenplay. This is a massive win for Get Out and Jordan Peele. Just a few days before the Academy Awards ceremony, it was revealed that several older Oscar voters were snubbing Get Out because they say it didn’t feel like an Oscar movie. Not only that, but several of those voters hadn’t even seen the movie, according to an anonymous Academy member.

“I had multiple conversations with longtime Academy members who were like, ‘That was not an Oscar film.‘ And I’m like, ‘That’s bulls***. Watch it.’ Honestly, a few of them had not even seen it and they were saying it, so dispelling that kind of thing has been super important.”

So much for that argument. Get Out defied the odds in many ways this year to earn its four Oscar nominations. The movie grossed $254.6 million worldwide and went on to earn near-universal critical acclaim. That acclaim helped keep the movie in the minds of Oscar voters for nearly a year in order to land these nominations and, ultimately, a historic win for Jordan Peele. You can check out Jordan Peele’s Twitter post for yourself below.


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